The festival opens reservations for Makhanda Live


Reservations are now open for the 2021 National Arts Festival’s Makhanda Live-hosted program, which will be presented live in the festival’s hometown of Makhanda from July 8-18. All tickets can be purchased on the Festival website website

“It’s been an exceptionally tough 18 months for the arts, but the National Arts Festival is cutting its fabric to fit the times with a smaller hybrid festival that allows audiences access to a full program of theater, dance, comedy, visual art, music, jazz and more – according to their own preferences – online or live, ”the Festival said in a press release.

In Makhanda, the festival will take place live at venues across the city with limited audiences and full COVID-19 protocols in place. The Festival reinvents its format by crossing the hybrid space when the Very great comedy show brings together live performances in three cities (Cape Town, Johannesburg and Makhanda) via a stream that will also be presented online.

The Festival expects to draw most of its visitors from the Eastern Cape where there is already a loyal following of day trippers who come for their annual fix, and hopes passionate art lovers from elsewhere will come as well. The Eastern Cape will also showcase its talents through the Dakawa Jazz Festival program to the Eastern Cape Dance Ensemble and the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra which will present the Gala concert conducted by Richard Cock, with guest musician 2018 Standard Bank Young Artist for Music, Guy Buttery. They will also present the ever popular Children’s concert.

David Bester performs with the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra.

Also from Eastern Cape Asanda Mqiki and Dumza Mzwana perform live as part of the Standard Bank Jazz Festival program; the show will also be available on the NAF Online program. Festival-goers will also be rewarded with a songbird performance Sibongile Mngoma as she celebrates jazz and opera.

A highly anticipated show at the Festival is Kamphoer – Die Verhaal van Susan Nell starring Sandra Prinsloo as a survivor of the horror of a British concentration camp during the Anglo-Boer War. Creative documentary project One take grace reflects the decade-long collaboration between artist Lindiwe Matshikiza and actor and community leader, Mothiba Grace Bapela, who met while working as a part-time actor and full-time domestic.

Clare stopford Covid moons tells the story of the disorientation and dislocation of the early days of the coronavirus and our disoriented attempts to survive a complete lockdown. In a noisy world The Listening Biennial brings together an international group of artists, musicians and researchers, as well as institutions and collectives from around the world, to foster questions and listening experiences.

Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja’s ZILIN is a sound journey through an Africa without borders using Zilin, a vocal technique from Benin in Africa; a musical style that is used in rituals and practices. Another musical journey, this time through cinema, is My culture, my music a celebration of South Africa’s unique cultural landscape through the expression of music. The large cast includes Simphiwe Dana and the 2020 National Arts Festival featured artist Madosini.

A scene from Etherality.

Co-creators Oupa Sibeko and Nicola Pilkington collaborate in Black is blue. Inspired by the widespread practice of using seawater for healing and spiritual purposes and related to “people of the water”, for whom the sea is a kingdom of ancestors, the work invites people to embrace the myth of an inland sea as a way to rethink urban space; return to the sea to mend wounds and find spiritual grounding.

Metsi going through a relationship going through tough times and asking what is left to give when you have nothing to give but your inner being.

Classical concert Reflections of the Gqeberha String Trio weaves the unconventional combination of violin (David Bester), viola (Jan-Hendrik Harley) and double bass (Mariechen Meyer) taking listeners on a musical tour. In Deconstructed planets and symphonies, the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra Horn Ensemble presents a program that showcases this versatile instrument.

Curator and artist, the interdisciplinary live performance work of Zodwa Skeyi-Tutani Inertia: Ubungeyo Mpazamo / Elwandle / Nithi Ngibanina Lo Makanda takes place at the Monument in Makhanda, weaving a wounded story to address the silences that perpetuate divisions and exclusion in Makhanda communities. In this story, the artists invoke a strategy of mothering and caring with the use of the various aspects of Intsomi, recognizing the weight of the residue of colonial trauma still present in the place today.

Umdiyadiya isiXhosa word to describe the fabric installed inside the house to create the boundaries of the rooms. The play Umdiyadiya draws inspiration from collective memories and seeks to trace historical events in black homes during South Africa’s recent and turbulent past. Artist Wezile Mgibe recalls time spent in welcoming and unwelcoming spaces, reflecting on experiences with family and friends.

Sandra Prinsloo at Kamphoer, Die Verhaal van Susan Nell – Photo: Jesse Kramer.

The awards ceremony is a three-part film that tells the story of a little girl who anxiously awaits the return of her grandmother to bring her new shoes so that she can collect her school rewards. It stars Kgalalelo Mfokazane, Sindi Montsho and Thishiwe Ziqubu. Rwandan filmmaker Kantarama Gahigiri Ethereality is the story of a man stuck in space for thirty years who finally manages to get home. Selected at the Chicago International Film Festival (2020), and previously screened in Clermont-Ferrand (2020) and at the Kurzfilmtage Winterthur (2019), What did you dream about completes the Triple Bill with her story that takes place during summer vacation in South Africa in 1990, when 11-year-old Boipelo becomes consumed by the fact that, unlike her two cousins, she no longer remembers her dreams and therefore cannot help her grandmother play Fahfee.

Festival favorite Aaron McIlroy brings a bit of satire into the mix with a hilarious look at the world of deaf guys and privilege in its many forms in comedy Excuses.

According to Rucera Seethal, artistic director of the National Arts Festival, “the program weaves itself through many distinct and different stories and many ways of telling stories. Some are calm and thoughtful, others are brimming with rage and pain, and many seek to put past and present events into perspective. We see audiences engaging in contemplative spaces with this program and imagine it will leave them plenty to think about in a time that calls us to re-engage with everything anew.

The 2021 Fringe program straddles the online space and returns to stages live in Makhanda. The Fringe program will be released shortly. Excellence at the Fringe will once again receive recognition from the Standard Bank Ovation Awards, which will review work on the NAF 2021 Fringe and select those that stand out. The awards will conclude with an online ceremony to announce the festival’s gold, silver and bronze winners.

To review the Makhanda Live program, visit https: // /
Tickets can also be purchased directly from the program page.

A calendar view of the Festival program is available for consultation and download.

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